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Review: Lehmannaudio Black Cube Linear - Page 2

post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugano-san
an elegant design that distinguishes it clearly from the many DIY attempts so often (and rightfully) discussed on head-fi
*Very nice* review! I hope we hear a lot more about this amp with its very pronounced yet not overbearing treble. I only take exception to one thing you said--if Hammond started to sell the black cube case for DIY'ers, this would lose all its novelty in just a few weeks. I agree it is nicely executed both inside and out, but it doesn't have a thing on a nicely executed DIY amp .

-coma
post #17 of 47
Thread Starter 
Just for clarification.

I did NOT write "very pronounced", and I would be grateful if you would not use that expression when quoting/summarizing what I posted. I wrote "ever so slight emphasis", and that is exactly what I wanted -- and still want -- to express.
post #18 of 47
I probably should have said "treble energy" rather than "pronounced treble" in my reply thanking you for your review and description. It was not my intent to reinterpret what you said, only an attempt to find a couple words to use in my reply that reflected your impressions. In any event, I LIKE treble and I have the SR-325's to prove it (though I had to mod them to tame their treble energy just a little...)

-coma
post #19 of 47
Thread Starter 
You're welcome.
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugano-san
You're welcome.
By the way, your description was very vivid--I can easily imagine how this amp might sound after reading your review. I didn't get the impression that the treble was bright, only that it is detailed and dynamic--a sound I like very much.

I also agree that it is a physically beautiful amp design. I like the uniquely long proportions and the resulting tighter faceplate and backplate configurations. That it does pre-amp duty on the side is a bonus.

Take care,

-coma
post #21 of 47
Jochen,

this is definitely an excellent review! Thank you very much for taking your time to have an in-depth look at my product and putting together such an elaborate evaluation.

I absolutely support your priorized classification with the terms "transparency," "resolution," "control," "balance" and "civility" and more than recognize the Black Cube Linear's sonic footprint by the use of these expressions. Being an audio engineer myself it was my first aim to design a headphone amp that can be used for quality evaluation of any kind of audio material even when listening eight hours a day and that is fun to use and enjoyable for the listener at the same time.

By comparing the HD650/Black Cube Linear (approx. EUR 1,100 retail incl. tax in Germany) to the top notch Stax combination (approx. EUR 4,100 retail incl. tax in Germany) you clearly point out what can be above the Linear, and you show that there is a serious amount of money to be spent to get that far. And while I can already hear some reviewers say that "tubes are simply better anyway" you remain unbiased enough to explain that your personal preference for tube equipment has influenced your judgment. Thank you for this.

In Munich, a record store called "Der Schallplattenladen" uses a smaller Grado model through the Black Cube Linear to give potential customers the opportunity to listen to the records in their shop - after first considering a midprice electrostatic combination. They felt that with the Black Cube Linear their customers get a better impression of the records. Again: taste.

Of course I would not mind if you would take a hex screwdriver to have a closer look at the innards of the unit. On the other hand I am satisfied that even without doing so my efforts that have been taken to build a cleanly designed product are obvious.

I made every endeavour to avoid any emphasis on a specific frequency range and thereby assume that the treble energy the Black Cube Linear delivers is also a part of the device's balance.

Thank you for the opportunity to make clear that for me headphone amplifiers are not "yet another product" to put on the market but a key component in creating customer satisfaction.

Kind regards

Norbert Lehmann

Lehmann audio
post #22 of 47

Positive feedback about the Lehmann headphone amp

I went to Sugano-san's place yesterday. The subject of this french micro-meet was the audition of the Lehmann headphone amp.

I listened to that amp connected with a HD650/Zu cable combo. I liked it very much: lot of details, very dynamic sound, natural timbres, good bass, medium and trebles...

This amp is a defitive good amp !
post #23 of 47
Thread Starter 

UPDATE AUGUST 2005

The following update was just posted in the original review above:


UPDATE AUGUST 2005

After some more months with the Lehmannaudio Black Cube Linear I would like to report the following: Its sound has developed further over time and become even more pleasant. My overwhelming listening impression nowadays is that of an integrated sonic spectrum where nothing really sticks out.

This applies in particular to the ever so slight, but formerly noticeable emphasis on the treble, which has all but disappeared to be succeeded by a general feeling of linearity, transparency and balance. What has remained are the Black Cube Linear’s previously mentioned qualities, i.e., its powerful and dynamic sound, its excellent bass control, detailed midrange and its civilized, non-obtrusive way of going about things.

In addition, I understand that the above-mentioned USB version of this amp is well underway, which – in its own right – should make another interesting addition to the headphone amp market. An XLR input version has been announced as well. There are some posts by Norbert (norbert:lehmann) in this forum providing more details.

Moreover, mounting brackets with which the Linear may be fastened to the underside of a desktop or the like will become available soon. Computer-as-source users will be able to enjoy excellent headphone sound by mounting the USB verison of the amp underneath their desks and in the immediate vicinity of their computers, for shortest possible cable runs.

Finally, Norbert told me that a small power amp with 20wpc housed in an enclosure the same size as that of the Black Cube Linear is also supposed to be released later this year. You can position it next to the Black Cube Linear under your desktop and drive conventional room speakers with it, e.g. your desktop speakers (or K-1000's for that matter). That equals DAC, headphone amp, preamp and power amp plus excellent sound in two elegant boxes.

Lehmannaudio continues to be a manufacturer to keep on the radar screen, and to me the Black Cube Linear is certainly one of the most attractive offerings in the solid state-segment of the headphone amp market.
post #24 of 47
Excellent review.

The Lehmann adds nothing to the signal path - no coloration at all.

It has sharply delineated images localized properly in space - both left and right and near and far.

Really shines with an excellent CD player and excellent headphones but will improve any system.
post #25 of 47
The Lehmann is a very underated amp among these parts. Sadly it seems that unless an amp is from the US or China folks don't really go after it. I don't necessarily blame them, imports costs $$$ as you are well aware of given you live in France and have to import the US goods.

I had the opportunity to listen to one for about a month along side a Talisman. Both amps were exceptional, very well built, but opposites in terms of presentation. Whereas the Talisman was very smooth, warm and tube-like (the most tubey ss amp I have come across) the Lehmann was punchy, powerful, but not bright or shrill, it let the music come through but it was definitively ss sounding.

Eventually I will get around to writing my impressions of both of these amps, but first I have to edit the Grado interview and finish my review of the Maple Tree Audio Ear.
post #26 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drarthurwells
The Lehmann [...] has sharply delineated images localized properly in space - both left and right and near and far.
Spot on. That's its most outstanding characteristic, in my view anyway.
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by drarthurwells
Excellent review.

The Lehmann adds nothing to the signal path - no coloration at all.

It has sharply delineated images localized properly in space - both left and right and near and far.

Really shines with an excellent CD player and excellent headphones but will improve any system.
Agree fully. Plus its a fine pre-amp as well. Well balanced and neutral. With the three gain settings its very easy to match to a power amp. On a speaker system you can really hear how well the focus is established. As you say solid images that span left to right and a great sense of depth. I've heard pre-amps at three times the price that don't focus the sound as well. Only drawback is that it only has one input.

The Talisman is also a fine amp/pre-amp. You get two inputs and three gain settings. The sound is much more romantic than the Black cube. A Conrad Johnson type of sound.
post #28 of 47
Improves even more with power cord upgrade:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue17/blackcube.htm
post #29 of 47
Heya Sugano-San!

How does this amp compare to the RKV modded (and unmodded) when using HD650s?

Thanks!
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhlbbs
I am currently looking to buy an amp to go with My HD650's and Darth Beyers. I had almost setteled on a GS-1 but it sounds as if the Lehmann might also be a very good contender. Also living in Denmark I like the idea of it coming from close by in Germany. Anybody have any comments/comparisons between the Lehmann and the GS-1 ?
The Lehmann uses zero global negative feedback - a definite plus.

I only buy headphone amps with Class A, zero feedback, and no opamps in the output stage (like the Lehmann I have) or single ended, if tubed or valved (like the Minga Dat MC66AE that I also use).
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